And They’re Off!

Costa Rica (7 August). One year plus a few months ago, I had a pretty crazy idea; what if Jessica and I quit our jobs, leased out our house, and traveled the world for a year? With our arrival to Costa Rica at 11:30 PM last night, that crazy idea became our insane reality.

Surreal Space

As the August 6th launch date for our trip approached, many people asked us, “Are you getting excited?” I hope somewhere buried in my response was a yes, but truthfully with so many stressful preparations to be made, getting excited about the trip was far down on the list. I’d like to double-down on the theme of my previous post, (Is It Romantical?), that attempted to impart just what a complicated and costly endeavor this trip has been so far.

Saying good-bye (for a full year) to the friends and family we care about has extracted an emotional toll on us. Add to that walking away from the wonderful house we’ve lived in for the past 4 years, leaving jobs and coworkers that had become part of our work-families, selling my scooter after six years of zipping around Austin on it, having to give my sweet cat one last hug, and toughest of all for Jessica, saying farewell to her daughter Mallorie. All of these things were difficult in their own way. We voluntarily left behind a perfectly good life for such a huge unknown. Who does that?

The thoughts and feelings we’ve been left with are uncharted territory for us. We have no frame of reference for them. The whole thing is so surreal. It will take us some time to shift gears into whatever new set of sensations await us as our journey now begins in earnest.

Keeping It Real

I wanted to get all of that on the record because if our handful of faithful readers were expecting us to hit the ground running with all kinds of awesome adventures, you are just going to have to be patient. It is my hope that keeping it real for you will be valued more highly than simply a list of places we went and things we did.

Here’s real for you. Our first hostel choice was a bust. Choosing to stay mostly in hostels during our trip was all about living cheaply. [We’ve got to manage our money carefully or we’ll never make it all the way around the world, yo!] It was expected that we’d find varying degrees of quality and cleanliness. It was still disappointing, however, that our first stay was so lacking. Our room was right next to the kitchen and a steady trickle of people could be heard rustling just outside our door all through the night. There were both bunk beds in the room and a ratty old full-size mattress lying on the floor. Okay, it wasn’t actually on the floor, but rather on top of two wooden pallets.

Where’s the water? By morning, it wasn’t running. Jessica found this out the hard way when she washed her hands with soap but then couldn’t rinse them off. The slimy soap had to be wiped off with a towel…which simply isn’t the same. We brushed our teeth camping style and rinsed our mouths with a few drops of water we had leftover from the previous day’s water bottle.

Better Already

The water was off all day and only started flowing again about 5 in the afternoon. Shower time! We changed rooms so that the kitchen noise should no longer be an issue. And, we got to know the Hostel’s resident rabbit, “Tranquis,” named so for his extremely chill (and tranquil) nature.

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Around mid-day, we walked through the center of San Jose until we reached the bus terminal. Once there we purchased our $11 each tickets for tomorrow’s 5 hour ride to Puerto Viejo, the second destination (a beach town) of our trip. The walk through town was pretty cool. A good 10-block stretch of it was pure pedestrian traffic (closed off to vehicles) and full of hustle, bustle and crazy people watching.

For lunch we stopped at a small, one-woman, “restaurant” and had fish soup. It was so authentic we were picking scales out of our teeth all afternoon. It was a little scary to eat, but actually quite good.

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Stopover in Mexico City

I mentioned earlier that we arrived into San Jose, Costa Rica at 11:30 PM. Would you believe we boarded our flight from Houston at 6:10 in the morning!? That’s about a 17 hour travel day. Okay, that’s a little misleading; we had a 10 hour stopover in Mexico City. Plenty of time to leave the airport and enjoy the company of some of my very good friends in Mexico City.

Huge thanks to Ivan for picking Jessica and me up at the airport. It is so awesome to come out of the terminal and see a friendly face. Ivan also chose the place for lunch, El Bajio del Polanco. The food was excellent and seeing the table of friends even better.

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We’ve only just begun. Once we get our travel legs under us and hit our stride, you will get much more than awkward rantings. Perhaps once we wiggle our toes in sandy beaches of Puerto Viejo tomorrow our shift from old-life to new-life will begin to take hold. There is so much ahead of us, a few hours without running water will be all but forgotten soon

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